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AFP
May 21, 2019

Flow of arms into Libya risks proxy war

World

AFP
May 21, 2019

TRIPOLI: Despite a UN embargo, weapons are still flowing into Libya where an assault on the capital by strongman Khalifa Haftar threatens to escalate into a proxy war between regional powers.

Haftar, whose self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) is allied with an administration in eastern Libya, is supported especially by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). On the other side, Turkey and Qatar back the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) which is recognised by the international community.

Haftar on April 4 launched an attack on the capital that has ground to a halt on the southern outskirts of Tripoli in the face of GNA forces backed by militias from western Libya. Both sides have called in reinforcements as fresh weaponry arrives despite a UN arms embargo officially still in place since a 2011 revolt that toppled Libya’s longtime leader Moamer Qadhafi.

The GNA boasted on Saturday of new "armour, ammunition and... weapons" for its fighters. It did not specify the source but posted photographs on its Facebook page of dozens of Turkish BMC Kirpi armoured vehicles at Tripoli port.

The Moldova-flagged vessel which made the delivery belongs to a Turkish firm and set sail from a port in Turkey, according to navigation websites. Arnaud Delalande, a defence consultant and specialist on Libya, interpreted the delivery as an apparent open show of support for the GNA.

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